The tunnel boring machine market in North America is expected to grow from US$ 1,448.63 million in 2019 to US$ 2,106.47 million by 2027; it is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% from 2020 to 2027.
Tunnel boring machines usually have diameters from 5–17 meters. Microtunnel boring machines are smaller, with an excavation diameter of ~4 meters. At present, microtunnel activities are widely used to construct several kilometers of underground infrastructure. It is considered as a fast alternative to traditional pipe installation systems. It is an automated process of boring and pipe installation used for excavation utility facilities such as wastewater, freshwater, oil & gas, communications, and electricity. Use of these machines is rising since they create less environmental impact compared to conventional excavation methods. Microtunnels have grown in North America to replace aging infrastructure in the US. The requirement for enhanced infrastructure across North America is robust and stronger as the existing utility systems are aging. Thus, the region is highly focused on investing in microtunneling projects to meet the growing requirements of infrastructure. Also, increasing infrastructure projects related to roads is among the factors bolstering the demand for tunnel boring machines in North America.
In terms of end-user, the transportation segment led the North America tunnel boring machine market in 2019. As the population is increasing and the countries across North America demand for more transportation services, the requirement for tunnels is also growing. The tunnel boring machine is highly used for road and railway transportation. The growing metropolitan rail infrastructure and increasing government investments in pipelines, railways, and road infrastructure across North America are propelling the market growth. Major countries are focused on deploying tunnel boring machines for urban transportation. For instance, in Seattle, Washington, the US, the world’s largest tunnel boring machine—namely, Fat Bertha—dug a highway tunnel, which was ~18 meters in height, weighed 70 tonnes, ~100 meters long, and 17.5 meters in diameter. Thus, the mounting investments in the construction industry for urban transportation, along with the growing penetration of tunnel boring machines, would spur the market growth during the forecast period.
North America is severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. North America, particularly the US, witnessed an unprecedented rise in the number of confirmed cases resulting in large-scale lockdown across different regions and industrial activities. It is one of the most important regions for the adoption and growth of new technologies due to favorable government policies to boost innovation, a huge industrial base, and the high adoption of automation in various industries, especially in developed countries such as the US and Canada. Hence, any hindrance on the growth of industries adversely affects the economic growth of the region. In January 2021, due to a pandemic, restrictions were imposed by British Columbia, Canada. Thus, it disrupted work at construction locations of a Rio Tinto hydropower project and BC Hydro’s Site C dam. The project is likely to resume operations after receiving an approval to surge the number of onsite workers to safely operate the tunnel boring machine. Moreover, the component manufacturer, supply chain, and distributor's lack of availability have significantly disrupted the production of tunnel boring machines. Thus, the market witnessed a drop in the demand from the end-users in 2020 and it is likely to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-2021.
The overall North America tunnel boring machine market size has been derived using both primary and secondary sources. To begin the research process, exhaustive secondary research has been conducted using internal and external sources to obtain qualitative and quantitative information related to the market. The process also serves the purpose of obtaining an overview and forecast for the North America tunnel boring machine market with respect to all the segments pertaining to the region. Also, multiple primary interviews have been conducted with industry participants and commentators to validate the data, as well as to gain more analytical insights into the topic. The participants of this process include industry experts such as VPs, business development managers, market intelligence managers, and national sales managers, along with external consultants such as valuation experts, research analysts, and key opinion leaders, specializing in the North America tunnel boring machine market. Dalian Huarui Heavy Industry Group Co., Ltd.; Herrenknecht AG; Hitachi Zosen corporation; IHI Corporation; Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.; Komatsu Ltd.; TERRATEC Ltd.; and The Robbins Company are among the players operating in the market.